Ad Age points to a new Nielsen Online study that found that misleading consumers is bad—shocker! The study entitled “Sustainability Through the Eyes and Megaphones of the Blogosphere” finds that misrepresenting the environmental impact of your company, or greenwashing, through advertising and PR is a “fatal corporate strategy.”
Because of social media. Blogs and other social media sites are very quick to sniff out exaggerated “green” claims, sparking discussion and discontent that spreads like a wildfire (sorry for the environmentally unsound simile). For instance, Greenwashingindex.com is a site that rates the authenticity of green advertisements. Think that Dow Chemical spot touting their environmental responsibility is a bit fishy? You can check out its index rating and join in on the discussion.
This research speaks to authenticity. When we market a product, a service or a company, it is imperative that we are honest about our claims. Trying to jump on the PR bandwagon of trends like the green movement is risky business unless you can do so with transparency. Or unless you have a truly sustainable, green product.
How refreshing would it be to hear a large corporation say “I know we haven’t been very friendly to our environment, but we are trying to change. Here is how we are doing it…”